UN chief Ban in Israel, demands end to Gaza war

Thursday, January 15, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Israel on Thursday and demanded in a meeting with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni that the Jewish state halt its offensive against the Gaza terrorist infrastructure.

Ban said that Israelis have a right to live without fear, but insisted that the death toll in Gaza had become "unbearable." Over 1,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the Israeli offensive began nearly three weeks ago.

Livni countered that all of the blood spilled in Gaza is on Hamas' hands, since Israel would never have gone to war had the terrorists not escalated their rocket attacks on southern Israel.

"Hamas is responsible for the loss of life in Gaza and the humanitarian situation there," said Livni. "We exercised restraint, but there comes a time when a country has to say enough is enough."

More than 5,000 mortar shells and rockets have been fired from Gaza at southern Israel since August 2005, when Israel fully surrendered the territory to the Palestinians.

The Israeli army also pointed out on Wednesday that most of the Palestinians whose deaths Ban finds so "unbearable" were terrorists.

Col. Moshe Levi, head of the IDF's Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration, told reporters that the army had carefully documented most of the dead in Gaza, and could reasonably estimate that no more than 250 of the 1,000 people killed were innocent civilians.

Considering how densely populated Gaza is, and Hamas' use of the civilian population as human shields, those figures signified tremendous success on Israel's part in avoiding civilian casualties, and were firm evidence that the army is not targeting civilians.

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